Airline moves threatening tourism


Queensland’s tourism industry is bracing itself for more bad news after Virgin Blue’s chief hinted that flights may be cut and a new luggage tax implemented.

Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey hinted on the Nine Network yesterday that the airline would be looking at capacity cuts to destinations such as the Gold Coast.

He also said a luggage tax was being considered due to the high cost of security and baggage processing.

This comes days after Qantas and Jetstar scaled back domestic and international flight services to offset rising fuel costs.

Queensland Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said today the industry knew more bad news would come and was turning its attention to attracting foreign airlines.

Ms Boyle said she and Queensland Tourism had been in contact with foreign airlines and a list of potentials was being compiled.

“Asian, European and US airlines are all feeling the problem but it seems the best ones are the Asian airlines,” Ms Boyle said.

“Before you speak to them in any serious way you have to have a proposal which outlines the number of people on the routes, how lucrative it is, what arrangements there’ll be with the airports, landing fees … it’s not as simple as picking up the phone and saying would you like to fly in to Cairns.”

Last week the State Government announced a $4 million rescue package for the Queensland tourism industry.

The money will go towards national and international marketing.

There could be more funds to come, with the Federal Government also asked to help.